In early February, the South Miami Historic Preservation Board hosted a sidewalk Plaque Dedication ceremony event outside the 5875 Sunset Drive building known as the Opsahl/Dowling Building.

Guests in attendance included members of the Berrin family, the owners of the property and included remarks by Christine Rupp, Executive Director of the Dade Heritage Trust and Pam Lahiff, Chair of the Historic Board.

The Opsahl/Dowling Building has as its core one of the oldest surviving concrete block buildings in the city. Originally built in 1914 as a general store for pioneer John Opsahl, it was transformed by the new owner William Manning Dowling in 1926.  Opsahla’s utilitarian design was enriched by the addition of a number of architectural elements.  Dowling added apartments upstairs while maintaining the retail use on the ground floor. 

The property was purchased in 1971 by the family matriarch Roz Berrin.  In her comments to the assembled guests, Roz noted that she was counselled “don’t fall in love with real estate, it’s to buy and sell.”  Well, Roz didn’t follow that counsel when it came to this property.  “It was always a charming building and a unique part of South Miami.”  The family has recently invested significant monies to rehab the historic property.


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